How to Design and Build an Analog Synthesizer from Scratch

Andre Lundkvist nadlun-5@student.ltu.se December 2, 2008

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3 This document presents the concepts of designing and evaluating an analog synthesizer. The synthesizer consists of a few standard functions found on a commercial synthesizer. The circuits are constructed with price as a driving consideration. The documentation include a discussion about what problems occur when designing an analog synthesizer and what can be done to eliminate them. The purpose is to give a deeper understanding of analog electronics and creating a user interface suited for adjusting settings in a live environment. The author assumes the reader has good knowledge of both signal processing and electronics.

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Circuit Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 4. . . . .1 Barkhausen Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Contents 1 Introduction 11 2 Theory 13 2. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 3 Analog Synthesizer Building Blocks 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Circuit Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Voltage Controlled Amplifier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Background . . . . . . . .3 Simulation . . . .2 Components . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Circuit Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Low Frequency Oscillator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Non-linearities and Non-ideality . . . . . . . . 3. . 29 8 Voltage Controlled Oscillator 31 8. . . 21 5.1 Background . . 29 7. . . . 32 5 . . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . . 27 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Analysis . . . . .4 Voltage Controlled Oscillator . . . . 21 6 Low Frequency Oscillator 6. . . . . .3 Simulation . . . .3 Envelope Generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 The Keyboard . . . . .2 Circuit Design . . . . . . .5 Voltage Controlled Filter . . 15 15 16 16 16 16 17 4 Electronic Guidelines 19 4. . . . 20 5 Design Basics 21 5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. . 23 23 25 25 25 7 Voltage Controlled Filter 27 7. . . . . . . . .1 Basic Definitions . . . . . . .

. . . . . . .1 Circuits . . .1 Circuit Construction . . 36 10 The 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 10. . . . . . . .2 Keyboard Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 39 11 Body design 12 Construction 41 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Control Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Circuit Design . . . . . . . .1 Oscillator Outputs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 10. . . 37 Circuit Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 16 Discussion References List of Figures A Enlargements B VCF Outputs C Component Data D Schematics 53 55 58 59 61 63 65 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Envelope Generator 37 Background . . . . .6 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 CONTENTS Simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 15 Enhancements 51 15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 9. . . . . . . . 43 13 Circuits and body interconnection 45 14 Results 47 14. . . 32 9 Keyboard Control Circuit 35 9. . . . . . . . .3 Body Construction . 51 15. . 41 12. .2 Low Frequency Oscillator Outputs .

A Johan Carlsson: For tips using L TEX. A Joakim Bergs: For introducing me to L TEX. Fredrik Olofsson: For giving me a ride to school so I didn’t have to carry the synthesizer on the bus. Roger Jonsson: For comments and guiding on the project and letting me do this.Preface Thanks to. Niklas Jakobsson: For help with the construction of the synthesizer body. Everyone else: Who has contributed with discussion and feedback during the project. 7 . My parents: Who sponsored me with food and material to the body construction when my money went to electronics.

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This was solved by a redesign of the control circuit so that it set an amount of current to the oscillators instead of a voltage. The synthesizer can reach about one octave with 12 keys. 9 . and amplifier. mounted on a sheet of wood. such as the oscillator. As desribed in chapter 15. These circuits was designed and constructed on experimental boards. A lower base frequency tends to reach a little more than one octave and higher frequency a little less then one octave. filter and amplifier are often controlled by a control voltage signal.Summary An analog synthesizer can be split into different building blocks. filter.2 at page 51. The oscillator. There are unsolved shielding problems that give some output hum and noise. though it depends on the ground frequency the oscillator is tuned to. Measurements were done and everything was placed inside a body. To reduce this. a shielding plane was installed and connected to common ground. This required the oscillators and filters to be redesigned as well by changing the tuning potentiometer to a lower value.

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11 . Senior Sound Design Project II at Lulea University of Technology.Chapter 1 Introduction The Noiztortion is an analog synthesizer built in course L0006A. The synthesizer should be able to reach for at least one octave with variable control voltage. Another goal with this project was also to get a good understanding of oscillator and filter design and principles considering construction of electronic applications. The goal with the project is to design and build a fully functional analog synthesizer and determine the sound quality of the instrument. Another goal is the measure the noise and distortion and figure out what causes this. The filter should have at least three different outputs.

12 CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION .

3. The conditions are given by equation 2.2 is known as the condition for oscillation.3) .1: A simple feedback oscillator circuit [4] The classic Barkhausen Conditions can be used to calculate minimum gain of a circuit and also used to calculate the frequency of oscillation.1 and 2. The condition given by equation 2.2) βi (ω)Av (jω) = 0 = βi (ω) = 0 These conditions are derived from the gain expression from a feedback oscillator as in figure 2. the expression of the gain can be written as equation 2.1.2. From figure 2.Chapter 2 Theory 2.1 is known as the gain condition and the condition given by equation 2.1. βr (ω)Av (jω) = 1 = Av (jω) = 1 βr (ω) (2.1) (2.1 Barkhausen Conditions Figure 2. Avf (jω) = vout Av (jω) = vin 1 − β(jω)Av (jω) 13 (2. [4].

14 CHAPTER 2. the expression in equation 2. as shown in equation 2.5. β(jω)Av (jω) = 1 (2.4 can also be written with separate real and imaginary parts. The Barkhausen Conditions are then derived from equation 2. βr (ω)Av (jω) + jβi (ω)Av (jω) = 1 (2.5.5) .3.4) The complex form of equation 2.4 derives from equation 2. THEORY Because the oscillator should work without the input signal vin .

These are interconnected to create a complete application that can be used as a musical instrument. or gate signal. It also sends a trigger signal. It usually sets a control voltage to control the pitch of the oscillators and filters. A short description of the blocks is presented below.1 The Keyboard The keyboard is the part mainly used for interaction and playing.1: Practical correlation between different parts of an analog synthesizer. [1]. Figure 3. 15 .1.Chapter 3 Analog Synthesizer Building Blocks An analog synthesizer consists of several blocks with different functions as seen in figure 3. 3. which is used to trigger an envelope generator. An enlargement can be found at page 59.

Usually a synthesizer has more than one oscillator.1 at page 37. Flute and other instruments could be designed in the opposite direction of a snare drum. Modern analog synthesizers can also be controlled by midi. 3. If a classic sawtooth wave signal is filtered by the low pass filter. the amplitude of the curve could be described as the amount of signal that is audiable depending on the time. Similar conversion applies with midi control. a snare drum sound could be described with a fast attack.4 Voltage Controlled Oscillator The block that creates the tones are the oscillator.3 Envelope Generator To control the VCA1 the main use is an envelope generator. The envelope generator can also be used to modulate filters and oscillators. or timbre. like a clarinet. This would sound snappy. sustain level and time and release time. high pass and band pass filter outputs. 3. with quite slow attack.2 Voltage Controlled Amplifier An important building block is the voltage controlled amplifier. determined by the control voltage from the keyboard. The cutoff frequency and resonance can often be controlled by a control voltage signal. or frequency the oscillator produces is as described in section 3. This is important because it allows the user to create more realistic sounds. This is necessary to be able to create different sounds.5 Voltage Controlled Filter All analog synthesizers use some kind of active filter to adjust harmonics. It takes a control voltage from the envelope generator and adjusts the amplification based on its potential. decay time. This block generates a continuous control voltage signal. a D/A conversion is needed to convert the digital pitch signal to usable control voltage [2]. 3. The oscillators can also take signals from the LFO2 and bend wheel. For example a low pass filter that is used on a square wave oscillator signal will sound hollow or woody. Usually when the envelope signal is ground (0 V ) the amplifier blocks the signal completely.1.16 CHAPTER 3. If you study figure 10. the envelope generator or LFO. The user can often decide some options for the envelope. It can also be controlled by the LFO to create tremolo effects. This can come from the keyboard. low sustain and short release time. ANALOG SYNTHESIZER BUILDING BLOCKS 3. 1 Voltage 2 Low Controlled Amplifier Frequency Oscillator . it will sound more like a cello. Usually an analog synthesizer has low pass. such as attack time. Because of midi being a digital interface. high sustain and a decent amount of release. often of both 2nd and 4th order. For example. to the sound. The pitch.

Its main usage is for modulation of other blocks and has often sine wave or triangular wave output.6 Low Frequency Oscillator This block is similar to the voltage controlled oscillator but produces a lot lower frequencies. .6. LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR 17 3. The speed of the oscillator is usually controlled by a panel potentiometer. The output signal can be used as a vibrato with the oscillator or a wahwah effect if used with the filter. usually below 30 Hz.3.

18 CHAPTER 3. ANALOG SYNTHESIZER BUILDING BLOCKS .

[3] 4. Phase noise (FM): There are a few different things that should be considered. 19 . Non linear components are also treated in a more linear way. i. A problem though is that components never are ideal. This can be critical in filter or oscillator design. the lowest noise the transistor deliver.e. with simplified formulas. The designer has to be aware of these problems. Amplitude noise (AM): To reduce amplitude noise. The selection of components can have a great impact of the results and there is often a lot of non ideal problems that has to be considered.Chapter 4 Electronic Filter and Oscillator Guidelines There are several guidelines when designing an active filter or oscillator. • Chose a transistor with a low flicker noise • Use a resonator with a high Q-value • Chose a transistor with a low noise at input impedance for the amplifier • Design the oscillator for a wide noise threshold. a limiter can be designed to reduce distortion. Other things that affect this frequency are noise and mechanical vibrations.1 Non-linearities and Non-ideality When designing an electronic circuit it’s often preferred to work with ideal components to make calculations easier. [4] Frequency stability: Components like capacitors among others are affected by aging and temperature in a way that causes it’s value to change. This can result in unwanted frequency instability. and avoid saturation for the transistor.

is highly advised to use when designing the circuits. There are also precision resistors available but those are far greater in price than metal-film resistors. This can cause problems with signals that alter sign of polarity. Metal-film resistors have less then 1 % tolerance while carbon-film usually has 5 %. It can give a 5 % to 10 % adjustment range if placed in series with the resistor. In micro electronic active filters and oscillators. 4 . 4.20 CHAPTER 4. [5] These can be quite big if the operational amplifier has high gain. One should also regard the power dissipation by the components in the circuits. A trick is to use trim potentiometers in important positions that determine frequency.2 Components Ceramic capacitors should be avoided as those are quite dependent on temperature and has quite high tolerance values. Some non idealities with operational amplifiers are bias offsets and current offsets. with addition that they require a bias voltage and are often polarity dependent. a power rating at 1 W is usually enough. Most resistors work well but it’s often preferred to use metal-film resistors instead of the ordinary carbon-film. Electrolytic capacitors should also be avoided based the same statement as ceramic capacitors. This is why a Computer Aided Design program. like Cadence Orcad Pspice A/D. ELECTRONIC GUIDELINES There are a lot of Computer Aided Design programs that are good with analysing/simulating the non ideality and non linearities.

Then each circuit is drawn in Cadence Orcad Capture CIS and simulated using Cadence Orcad Pspice A/D.1: Voltage Definitions VCC: Used as a potential reference. VCC is +12 V and VDD is −12 V .Chapter 5 Design Basics 5. In these schematics. Table 5. GND: Always ground with 0 V potential CV: Control Voltage. For the transconductance amplifiers. Used to describe a variable voltage potential. The operational amplifiers used throughout the designs are the TL082 [6].1 Basic Definitions Some different words are used throughout the report.2 Circuit Design Every design is first drawn by hand with a quick overall assumption of the function. They were chosen because of the low price. 1 Dual In-Line 21 . The operational amplifiers TL082 are cheap dual package operational amplifiers that are relatively noisy and have relatively high bias offsets compared to more expensive amplifiers. VDD: Used as a potential reference. See table 5. LM13700 [7] was chosen because of high quality and matched pairs in one DIL1 -package. 5.1.

22 CHAPTER 5. DESIGN BASICS .

figure 6.1: The classical Wien Bridge Oscillator [4] 23 . Figure 6. The feedback gain is determined by R1 and R2 . The Wien Bridge oscillator is capable of producing sine wave output of distortion below 0. The frequency of the oscillator is determined by the values of R and C.2 % when using a good amplitude limiting circuit.Chapter 6 Low Frequency Oscillator 6.1.1 Background The LFO is based on the classical Wien Bridge oscillator.

2 the frequency of oscillation can be derived to equation 6. the imaginary part of the feedback has to be zero for oscillation to start.5) (6. The relationship between R1 and R2 can then be extracted.1 gives a minimum gain of the circuit for oscillation to continue.3.6) Av (jw) = 1 − R2 = 2R1 The value of R2 should be slightly greater than 2R1 to make sure the oscillation is sustained. f= Avo = 1 =3 βr (ω0 ) R2 =3 R1 (6.4) (6. .1.1) The non inverting input voltage of the operational amplifier is given by equation 6. LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR The gain for the Wien Bridge oscillator can be easily obtained by a circuit analysis.2) According to Barkhausen Condition from equation 2. The gain can therefore be written as equation 6. Av (jω) = vo R2 =1+ v+ R1 (6.2. If Barkhausen Condition is applied to equation 6.24 CHAPTER 6. The operational amplifier works in a non inverting connection so the gain is basically as shown in equation 6. v+ = vo 1 3 + j(ωRC − 1 ωRC ) (6.1 at page 13 applied to equation 6. but it increases distortion of the output. 1 (6. The oscillator starts faster with a higher gain.4.1 at page 13.3) 2πRC The Barkhausen Condition given by equation 2.

which probably is because of resistor and capacitance tolerance.156.2.2 – 30 Hz. 6.2 Circuit Design The final circuit for the LFO can be seen in figure D. The R38 = 4.4 Analysis The simulated frequency range is really close the constructed results of 0. U20 B. 6.244] depending of the resistors tolerance of in this case 1 % The bipolar electrolytic capacitors C15 and C16 have a value of 47 uF . The sine wave is obtained from the two 1N4448 diodes before the inverting input of the U2 A.1.2 at page 66. The four 1N4448 diodes work as a simple limiter. A higher frequency is produced by a lower value of the resistance.2 kΩ which is R2 in figure 6.6. CIRCUIT DESIGN 25 6.1 at page 23 and R27 = 2. and seems to work better for a high frequency than a low frequency.335 – 33. When the voltage is below or above a certain level the current through the diodes are limited. 3. The use of buffers allows the oscillator to work independently of the load of the outputs. U21 B. where R28 = 1 kΩ which is R1 in figure 6. The potentiometers adjust the amplitude of the signal. U28 B are used as buffers.86 Hz. It works somewhat. Between the U20 B/U21 B and U27 B/U28 B are two potentiometers. These LEDs work as an indication of the oscillation speed and also help shaping the square wave output. The U2 A is the main operational amplifier for the oscillator while U2 B. U27 B. to protect them for burning to quickly.7 kΩ limits the current through the LEDs. This gives a gain between [3. The output from buffer U2 B is used to drive two LEDs. The frequencies seem to be a bit lower than the theoretical values. The frequency is controlled by a logarithmic stereo potentiometer connected in series with two resistors of 100 Ω.3 Simulation The calculated frequency reach is about 0. .

LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR .26 CHAPTER 6.

1. See figure 7.Chapter 7 Voltage Controlled Filter 7. It is a state variable bandpass filter with additional high pass and low pass outputs. The gain is always 1. state-variable filter [3] 27 .1: A unity gain.1 Background The filter is based on a design by Don Lancaster [3]. Figure 7. except for the bandpass which has gain of Q.

2 and the bandpass Q will be 5. All outputs will have ideally identical amplitude and frequency.2.1.28 CHAPTER 7. The resistors connected from the positive inputs of the operational amplifiers to ground are used to compensate for offset variations. The resonance/Q-value. These are not critical and can be replaced by a short circuit. or damping. Figure 7. can be adjusted by adjusting the resistor marked with 3−d 5k.1) The transconductance is depending on the amplifier bias current. for the transconductance can be found in the data sheet of LM13700. For example a value d = 0.2. R and RA are the resistors shown in figure 7. To be able to adjust the cutoff frequency with a control voltage. [7] The resistance between the outputs of the amplifiers can be expressed as equation 7. See figure 7.2IABC (7. where IABC is the amplifier bias current at 25 degrees C. A simplified expression.2: Floating point voltage controlled resistance. the two frequency-determining resistors of figure 7.1 at page 63. the d low pass and high pass outputs will have a damping value of 0. see figure C. Either the capacitors or both resistors need to change at the same time and with the same amount to change frequency. equation 7.2.2.1 are replaced with two LM13700 with a configuration to work as a voltage controlled resistance. where gm is the transconductance of the amplifiers. VOLTAGE CONTROLLED FILTER The resistors at the intersection between operational amplifiers 1 – 2 and 2 – 3 determine the cutoff frequency together with the capacitors. Rx = 2R gm RA (7.2) . gm ≈ 19.

3 Simulation The resulting Baude-plot for each output for a test CV signal can be seen in figure 7. The diode bias inputs of the LM13700 are not used.4 and figure 7.2 Circuit Design The final design is seen in figure D. R118 could be replaced with a potentiometer to be able to adjust the input gain if used in other applications. The CV range is from 0 – 12 V . The cutoff potentiometer is held at 50 kΩ . such as the oscillators. The potentiometer RT U N E F adjusts the frequency by adjusting how much current to feed the LM13700 with.3. This configuration for a voltage controlled resistance is found in the data sheet for the LM13700 [7]. it is preferred to not use the diode bias inputs. The input is obtained from high level sources. Each output is buffered with operational amplifiers so the load won’t affect the behavior of the filter. The CV input is used to fine tune the filter over one octave. The U14 A and U14 B are one LM13700 package and U15 A and U15 B are another.3: Simulated frequency response plot of the voltage controlled filter with 50 % resonance and control voltage of 1 V . figure 7.3 at page 67. CIRCUIT DESIGN 29 7. the input signals should be lower then 1 V peak to peak. To avoid unwanted distortion when the resonance is adjusted.7. Figure 7. but because of the logarithmic nature of audio. To adjust this. They can be used to linearize the amplifier bias input.5 at page 30. It is actually the current to the amplifier bias input that controls the resistance. and they have amplitude of about 11 Vrms .2. a summing amplifier U29 A is used with a gain of −10. 7. The resonance is adjusted with the feedback gain by potentiometer RRES .

4: Simulated Baude-plot of the Voltage Controlled Filter with resonance at 0 % and a cutoff at 100 % and 1 V control voltage Figure 7.30 CHAPTER 7. VOLTAGE CONTROLLED FILTER Figure 7.5: Simulated Baude-plot of the Voltage Controlled Filter with 100 % resonance and 0 % cutoff and 1 V control voltage .

see figure 8.1 Background The voltage controlled oscillator is based on the voltage controlled bandpass filter. [3] 31 . The difference is that the bandpass output is feed back to the filter input. The frequency of oscillation is set by adjusting the center frequency for the bandpass filter.Chapter 8 Voltage Controlled Oscillator 8. In theory a sine wave output can be obtained with under 0.1 at page 31. [3] Figure 8. The gain of the limiter should be adjusted so that it fulfills the Barkhausen Conditions. The distortion of the sine wave output is adjusted with the Q value of the filter.2 % distortion.1: A way of creating a voltage controlled oscillator based on an active bandpass filter.

[6] . The ground frequency can be adjusted with the potentiometer RT U N E O together with the bend wheel potentiometer RBEN D O1 . It works the same way of adjusting the frequency as the voltage controlled filter described in the previous section. The amplitude is about 11 Vrms . U6 A performs the filter operations. The finished design can be seen in figure D. shown in figure 8.3 and 8.5 respectively. with a gain of at least 8.2 and 8. VOLTAGE CONTROLLED OSCILLATOR 8. the maximum output the TL082 can deliver with a power supply of +/ − 12 V . The operational amplifiers U6 B and U7 B are additional buffers to allow the oscillator to work independently of the load. The other two operational amplifiers U5 B. The frequency of the oscillator can be analyzed with a Fast Fourier Transform analysis. The difference is that the output of the filter is fed back to the input.3 Simulation A simulation of the oscillator with observation point at the square wave output and the square wave/triangular wave output are shown in figure 8.4.4 at page 68. 8. The frequency is determined by the two capacitors C17 and C18 together with the resistance generated by the two LM13700 components. The output of the first operational amplifier U5 A will be square wave of constant amplitude.32 CHAPTER 8.2 Circuit Design The oscillator used in this analog synthesizer has two other output wave forms. It has one square wave/triangular wave output and one sine pulse waveform. The simulated frequency is centered about 75 Hz with 1 V CV and 150 Hz with 12 V CV. The square wave can be obtained at the output of U5 B.

2: A simulated output of the voltage controlled oscillator with 1 V control voltage Figure 8.3: A Fast Fourier Transform analysis of the simulated output of the voltage controlled oscillator with 1 V control voltage. Ground frequency is 75 Hz .8.3. SIMULATION 33 Figure 8.

VOLTAGE CONTROLLED OSCILLATOR Figure 8.34 CHAPTER 8.4: A simulated output of the voltage controlled oscillator with 12 V control voltage Figure 8.5: A Fast Fourier Transform analysis of the simulated output of the voltage controlled oscillator with 12 V control voltage. Ground frequency is 150 Hz .

U22 B. U19 A and U23 B. The switches Sw1 to Sw12 are the keys of the keyboard and therefore select which potentiometer to be used. The secondary buffers deliver the control voltage to each block. The keyboard layout only allows one switch to be pressed at once. This is because of the resistor R112 = 1 M Ω connected to the VDD terminal. the voltage level will be −12 V .Chapter 9 Keyboard Control Circuit 9. Between the first buffers U22 B. When all switches are depressed.5 at page 69. The schematic of the first design is shown in figure D. U19 A and U23 B and the second buffers U22 A. 35 .1 Circuit Design The keyboard control circuit was designed without simulation of the function because the key model was not present in the available libraries for Cadence Orcad Pspice A/D. The potentiometers R95 to R106 are used to adjust the voltage level passed to the buffers. These can be connected to any waveform to modulate the output control voltage. The operational amplifier U19 B is used in a comparator connection [8]. in this case the two voltage controlled oscillators and the voltage controlled filter. U23 A and U24 A there are modulation inputs.

36 CHAPTER 9. change the keyboard control circuit to a current output. . it’s range is too small. Because of the output control voltages is VDD when no switch is pressed. The selected approach in this project is the first one. • Change the keyboard control circuit so it delivers a control current instead of a voltage. This can easily be accomplished by connecting every potentiometer R95 to R106 as variable resistance instead of a voltage divider. There are two easy ways to make the interrelation better. • Design a voltage to current driver that can deliver a wider range of current depending on the voltage. the output will be at VDD. The output of U19 B serves as a gate signal. the output will be at VCC. this results in a current being drawn from the LM13700 components used in those circuits given the control voltage. The circuit sets the control voltage as it should.5 at page 69. The inverting input of the operational amplifier is connected to ground. KEYBOARD CONTROL CIRCUIT 9. which can be used to trigger envelope generators or other functions. [5] This results in that the oscillators won’t oscillate and the filter will be cut off completely and thus serves as an on/off gate.2 Analysis When the voltage level of the non-inverting input of the operational amplifier is above the voltage level set on the inverting input. There is one big problem with the design seen in figure D. When the voltage level of the noninverting input of the operational amplifier is below the voltage level of the inverting input. but together with the other circuits which uses the control voltage to control frequency. the output of U19 B will be VCC and VDD otherwise. so when any switch is pressed.

Figure 10.1 Background An envelope generator takes a gate signal and outputs a generated envelope.Chapter 10 The Envelope Generator 10.1. decay and release and also a sustain level. One example of a classical ADSR envelope generator is shown in figure 10. Most analog synths have envelope generators that produce an envelope with variable time constants of attack.1: A control voltage envelope of a classical ADSR envelope generator 37 .

1 at page 65 Figure 10. Anyhow the behavior is almost the same. In this synthesizer.1 at page 65.3: The control voltage generated with the inverted circuit output . Figure 10. The time of charge is set by the potentiometer R122 and the value of C23 . The output from the buffer U24 B is shown in figure 10. the envelope generator is used mainly for frequency modulation. the PNP transistor turns off. 10.3 Analysis The envelope generator works like a digital TTL inverter.3. THE ENVELOPE GENERATOR 10. The ADSR output is shown in figure 10. When the gate signal is below GND. and sustain level is always kept at GND. It might be noted that the schematic is simulated using the NPN transistor BC550B instead of BC537 [10] used in final construction.2. the PNP transistor Q1 [9] will allow current to pass from VCC through the transistor and charge the capacitor to VCC.1) When the gate signal turns high. This is because that Cadence Orcad Pspice A/D did not have the BC537 in the standard library available for simulation. The circuit design is shown in figure D. The time constant can be written as equation 10.1. and the NPN transistor Q2 [5] turns on.2 Circuit Design The circuit design used in this synthesizer only uses attack and release. This allows the capacitor to uncharge through the NPN transistor with the time constant set by the potentiometer R123 . τ = RC (10.38 CHAPTER 10.2: The Control Voltage generated with the circuit in figure D.

1: A concept draft of the keyboard module design created in NX 4.Chapter 11 Body design When designing the body and layout of the Interconnection. 39 . a Computer Aided Design-program NX 4.0. the concept of the keyboard module can be seen.2 at page 40. In figure 11.0 was used. Each potentiometer.1. And the first concept of the main body can be seen in figure 11. Figure 11. switches and etc was measured and modelled.

BODY DESIGN Figure 11. .40 CHAPTER 11.2: A concept draft of the main body design created in NX 4.0.

they work well. Both oscillators are placed on the same board for simplicity reasons. All resistors are of metal-film type with 1% tolerance. From VCC to GND there are one ceramic capacitor of 22 nF to make the power supply more stable. When every component was in place. Every component was placed so a minimum of extra connections were needed. Every schematic has its own experimental board except the voltage controlled oscillators. the TEL3-0522 [11]. The component output is a dual supply of +12 V . This capacitor should be chosen in respect to the output ripple. they were fixed with tape and then soldered. They are also low inductive and very suitable for audio applications.5 – 9. The capacitors used in the low frequency oscillator are bipolar electrolytic. There is also one capacitor from VDD to GND. The power supply uses a Traco Power component. These have great performance over aging and temperature. but are somewhat expensive.Chapter 12 Construction 12. 1 Dual In-Line 41 . −12 V and common ground. This allows the input power to range from 4. The capacitor used in the envelope generator is a low leakage electrolytic of 47 µF . Every DIL1 package is mounted on sockets for easy reparation and debugging.0 V DC. Each schematic was laid out on experimental boards. Especially the LM13700 is very sensitive against static discharges.1 Circuit Construction All capacitors used in the voltage controlled filter and the voltage controlled oscillators are metalcoated polypropylene of 47 nF . Even though they require a small bias voltage.

Some shrink tube was mounted on the levers in three layers to give a better feel of the keys. CONSTRUCTION 12. These have long levers and serve as a clav right away.1: Connected keys . Figure 12.42 CHAPTER 12.2 Keyboard Construction The keyboard uses 12 Camden Electronics CMNS2830D [12] switches. see figure 12. All switches was connected together using three threaded cylinders of M3 dimension.1 at page 42.

keyboard module and bend wheel . Figure 12. BODY CONSTRUCTION 43 12. The keyboard module was also mounted on the wood sheet. It was heated with 590 deg C and then bent to create a chassis. The reason for the keyboard control module to be placed outside of the cover. was space issues.2: The mounted body with control potentiometers. The body was mounted on a thick wood sheet. Hinges were mounted on the front of the body.1 at page 45. The body was spray painted with matte black acrylic color. Controller names were written with a silver permanent water proof marker.3 Body Construction The body was constructed from a hard sheet plastic material.12. Holes were drilled to hold every potentiometer and control voltage output and input connections.2. See figure 12.3. See figure 13.

CONSTRUCTION .44 CHAPTER 12.

See figure 13.1: Interconnection of the Power Supply Unit.1 at page 45. Voltage Controlled Filter. control potentiometers and more 45 . Attack-Release Envelope generator and the Voltage Controlled Oscillator.Chapter 13 Circuits and body interconnection The circuit boards were mounted on the sheet of wood by either wood screw or tape depending on available options on the experimental boards. Figure 13. On the top left there is the Low Frequency Oscillator.

46 CHAPTER 13. CIRCUITS AND BODY INTERCONNECTION .

A listening test was also made on the voltage controlled oscillator and voltage controlled filter. The waveforms produced by oscillator 1 are shown in figure 14. The waveform produced oscillator 2 is the almost exactly like the output from oscillator 1. it was tested with oscilloscope to make sure it worked as it should. 47 .1 and 14. and should be fixed by either dampen the square/tri wave or amplify the sine/pulse wave. It can be noted that the output level of the sine/pulse output is lower than the square/tri wave output.2.1 Oscillator Outputs After a circuit board was built. This might be a problem.Chapter 14 Results 14. An analysis with oscilloscope was done of the oscillator outputs.

2: Oscillator 1 sine pulse output .48 CHAPTER 14. RESULTS Figure 14.1: Oscillator 1 square wave/triangular wave output Figure 14.

The high frequency noise that can be seen in the square wave output is less noticeable in the sine wave output.3.4 and 14. The shape of the sine is a lot better in higher frequencies.2 Low Frequency Oscillator Outputs The square output of the low frequency oscillator is shown in figure 14. LOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR OUTPUTS 49 14. The low frequency oscillator sine wave output is shown in figure 14. Figure 14.5.3: Low Frequency Oscillator square wave output .14. There is quite a lot high frequency noise noticeable in the waveform.2.

4: Low Frequency Oscillator sine wave output at about 7.4 Hz Figure 14. RESULTS Figure 14.50 CHAPTER 14.5: Low Frequency Oscillator sine wave output at about 30 Hz .

A critical error was done in the design where the decoupling capacitors for each power supply was forgotten. was to change the control circuit to drive a logarithmic current to the oscillators and filters. 15. To reduce humming due to shielding another body was resigned with a metal case connected to ground.Chapter 15 Enhancements 15. because of space issues.2 Control Layout Due the to linear function of the LM13700 the control circuit or the circuits using the LM13700 should be compensated. Decoupling ceramic capactitors with a value of 100 nF was used to enchance the circuits. The easiest way. This will increase noise and make the power supply unstable. 51 .1 Circuits Some trimming could be done to the circuits to enhance noise and other effects.

ENHANCEMENTS .52 CHAPTER 15.

If the user wants to play in a lower frequency range. This could be solved by a logarithmic current driver design or re-design the control module to set control current instead of control voltage. resulting on reaching a little bit more than one octave. But the sound it produces indicates the cutoff is always too high for the playing frequency. It appears that the high pass only applies a negative bias offset of almost −4 V . The high pass output of the VCF1 has unsolved problems that still need to be addressed. For example. The electronics cost about 2500 SEK. if the user wants to play in a higher frequency range. If better potentiometers are wanted. This is quite strange because of the VCO has the exact same control for frequency as the VCF. The price for the complete construction was below 3500 SEK which is quite fair. the keyboard does not hold for one octave. If the error is caused by poor soldering.1 at page 61. but it sounds pretty nice actually. The tuning should be weight such as minimum offset variations occur when selecting higher or lower frequency ranges of the oscillator. The low frequency oscillator seems to interfere with the other circuits all the time. 1 Voltage Controlled Filter 53 .Chapter 16 Discussion The construction resulted in a playable synthesizer. it will also affect the other outputs of the filter. This results in a problem when user plays in other frequency ranges then the keyboard control is tuned for. the keyboard overshoots the tones. the price goes up radially. See figure B. caused by relatively high currents and cheap interconnection cables. This might be a shielding problem. The range of playable frequencies depends on the ground frequency of the oscillators. This is probably a soldering error.

54 CHAPTER 16. DISCUSSION .

2004.References [1] “What Is Analogue Synthesis?. Gonzales. http://en.” http://www. html. [6] “TL082. [8] “OP Amp Applications.elfa.pdf. [2] “MIDI2CV-628 MIDI to CV/Gate Interface. 2007.” http://www.datasheet4u. [4] G.elfa.pdf. 2008. [10] “BC537. [12] “CMNS2830D.pdf.org/wiki/Operational_amplifier_ [9] “BC557A.” http://www.” http://www. Foundations of Oscillator Design. USA.se/pdf/73/734/07346920. 2008. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2008. Lancaster. 2008.se/pdf/69/06959308. [5] Sedra/Smith.htm..com/html/B/C/5/BC537_MicroElectronics.wikipedia.” http://m. [11] “TEL3-0522. 2008.html.elfa. Inc.elfa. 2008. Active Filter Cookbook.com/roland_rock/analog. 2008. 2008.se/pdf/71/07105539. 1995.pdf. 55 .pdf.” http://www. [7] “LM13700. Great Britain: Synergetics Press.se/pdf/73/731/07311806.free.” http://www.se/pdf/35/03570140.bareille.geocities.pdf. Norwood: Artech House. 2008. [3] D.fr/mcv628/mcv628. Microelectronic Circuits.” applications.elfa.” http://www.

56 REFERENCES .

. . . . .2 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 V CV FFT analysis .5 Feedback Oscillator . . .1 Interconnection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Low Frequency Oscillator square wave output . . .1 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 14. 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 3. . . . . . . . . Oscillator 1 sine pulse output . . . . . 13 15 23 27 28 29 30 30 31 33 33 34 34 37 38 38 39 40 42 43 45 48 48 49 50 50 10. . . . . . . . . . . .3 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . State-variable filter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 7. . . . .3 AR inverted CV output . . . . . . Example FR-plot . . . . . . . . 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. . . . . . .2 8. . . . . . . .List of Figures 2. .4 Hz Low Frequency Oscillator sine wave output at about 30 Hz 57 . . . . . . . .3 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Low Frequency Oscillator sine wave output at about 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 body sketch . . . . . . . 1 V CV FFT analysis . .1 Keys sketch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Block diagram of a VCO 1 V CV simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 14. . . . . .1 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 V CV simulation . 13. . . . . . . . . . .4 8. . . .1 Example ADSR envelope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Voltage controlled resistance . 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . VCF simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Oscillator 1 square wave/triangular wave output . . .1 Connected keys . . . . . . . . . . . 10. . . . . . . . . . 14. . . VCF simulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Shell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wien Bridge Oscillator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Building Blocks . . . . . . . . . front . . . . . . .5 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 14. . . . . . . . . .1 8. . . . . . . . . . . . .2 AR CV output . .

58

LIST OF FIGURES A.1 Building Blocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.1 The strange output of the High Pass Filter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C.1 Transconductance of the LM13700 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D.1 D.2 D.3 D.4 D.5 AR generator schematic . . LFO schematics . . . . . . . VCF schematics . . . . . . . VCO schematics . . . . . . Keyboard control schematic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 61 63 65 66 67 68 69

Appendix A

Enlargements

Figure A.1: Practical correlation between different parts of an analog synthesizer, [1]

59

60

APPENDIX A. ENLARGEMENTS

1: The strange output of the High Pass Filter 61 .Appendix B VCF Outputs Figure B.

VCF OUTPUTS .62 APPENDIX B.

1: Transconductance of the LM13700 63 .Appendix C Component Data Figure C.

COMPONENT DATA .64 APPENDIX C.

1: The finished Attack/Release envelope generator schematic 65 .Appendix D Schematics Figure D.

2: Final circuit design of the Low Frequency Oscillator . SCHEMATICS Figure D.66 APPENDIX D.

67 Figure D.3: Final circuit design of the voltage controlled filter .

SCHEMATICS Figure D.4: The finished design of the voltage controlled oscillator .68 APPENDIX D.

5: The keyboard control schematic .69 Figure D.

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